I told CJ that I was going to write about how I was feeling and that I would probably delete it after because I would hate for anyone to know this side of me. But, I have to write because if I don’t I am going to suffocate.
Today is my mom’s birthday. She would be 62. She died when she was 46 years old after a 32 day battle with Leukemia. I have been without a mother longer than I’ve lived with one, which blows my mind.
Every year is different.
This year I am anxious and I feel like a burden even talking about it.
I’m tired of being the chick that talks about her dead mom.
I’m tired of seeing my friends and their moms. Jealous much? Yes. Heck, I’m tired of seeing strangers and their moms. I’m tired of being the chick that gets choked up every time there is an email, inquiry form or phone reference to “the mother of the bride.” The mother of the bride is dead. There is no mother of the bride. Why are you even asking me?! Don’t you see the sign on my forehead and that says “PROCEED WITH CAUTION: SHE LOST HER MOM AT 14 AND MISSES HER EVERY DAY.”
When someone loves you as much as my mother loved me, the pain is always there. The fire always burns. Sometimes it’s a flicker: barely there but still there… in the background of everything you do. Sometimes it’s tall, and can’t be put out until it literally burns out, destructing everything in its path. Today, I feel like the fire is trying to decide what it’s going to do next.
It’s really weird being a bereaved bride-to-be. I’m sure this will come as a surprise to you, but since CJ and I have been engaged, I have been in and out of a depressed state, more than I have in many, many years. I haven’t had a huge milestone like this in my life (at least one that I held in such high esteem) that hasn’t included my mom or my grandma. I feel it and I know it contributed to a lot of our early wedding planning stress. I was indecisive and maybe even self-sabotaging. You could say I was acting like someone who didn’t want to get married. Of course, that isn’t true, but I think the appropriate way to sum it up is that being a motherless daughter was a dark cloud that followed me every step. I’m really grateful that CJ and I chose a wedding date that gives us a lot of time to handle business with a manageable timeline, and for me to go through the ebbs and flows of grief in a way that restores a little bit of peace somewhere in my soul. I’m grateful to have a partner like CJ that never gets tired of talking about her and does his absolute best to reach me on that emotional level.
I should’ve seen that wave of grief coming.
The evening following the afternoon proposal in London, we went back to our hotel room to call our families and share the news. After an hour or so, we were done with the calls and were just laying on the bed, recapping the day, and I kept looking at my ring, approximately every 2 minutes. “Wow, it really happened” kept going through my head. “I feel like I’m forgetting to tell someone” was a feeling I couldn’t shake all day. I remember curling up into CJ’s shoulder/underarm area (my hiding spot) and I softly said, “I wish I could call my mom” before I started to weep. Just typing it makes my eyes water.
I WISH I COULD CALL MY MOM!
I WISH SHE KNEW CJ.
I WISH SHE KNEW US AS AN US.
The last vision I have of my mother beside her in a casket and before that in a hospital bed was at BWI Airport at the Continental gate. I was catching a plane back to Sacramento after visiting her over Spring Break. My terrible adjustment to life as a 14-year-old “California girl” in Baltimore had me begging to go back to Sacramento, which she eventually agreed to after I asked, knowing it would hurt.
I’ll never forget the tears streaming down her face. Not even the fact that she was crying, but how the tears were falling. Each one flowed like a rushing river. Her face was wet. I was wearing a white tube top (hey, it was 2002) and pink pants. She was wearing a purple, green and tan patterned cloak that she wrapped around herself.
“Stop crying, mom. I’ll see you in June. I’ll call you when I get to grandma’s.”
She nodded her head and cried harder.
Two days later she went to the hospital to find out why her ear infection hadn’t gone away yet. They took a blood test. It wasn’t an ear infection. She had cancer, and she made the choice (and made it for others that were sworn to secrecy) that I would never know. I appreciate her optimism. I appreciate the fact that she thought she’d beat it, and that she’d tell me one day and I’d be mad for a week (if that) and we’d live the rest of our lives together. But we aren’t doing that and I’m still standing.
“She’s always with you” is the common response I get from people. I appreciate the comforting and kind words. And they are right, she is, and she really is because I reference her a lot and I play the music she would’ve been playing if she were here. But, when in fact it is supposed to make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. When people say that to me, I want to say, “You lose your backbone and then tell me if you feel that way.” Sometimes you’re not so sure she is. You walk with a limp after that, especially when you were the last to know that she was even sick – and she dies two days later WITHOUT waking up. I don’t take any comfort in that phrase. I am extremely uncomfortable that my mother is dead. All I have are memories and energy to keep me going. A good amount of people that were in our lives at that point have since moved on with theirs, or have passed on.
Recently I asked CJ during one of our many chats if there were any words that he needed to hear from people, and could only hear them in a sentence. When it came to me, I gave a couple of examples, but the #1 person I need to hear from is my mom.
“I should’ve told you” is what I wish she’d say.
I am not going to the mausoleum today to see her. Or my grandmother. They are resting together. When I go, it’s usually random and I’m in a place of needing to feel “home.” I drive my usual route up Folsom Boulevard and make a sharp turn into East Lawn. I walk into the cold and quiet building and pull up a chair. My grandmother chose a plot that is at the very top, so in order to be close to them or leave flowers, I have to get on an oversized ladder and sometimes I’m so upset I can’t even see what I’m doing so I don’t even bother to roll it over most times. I don’t talk. I just sit. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I’m there for 5 minutes. Sometimes I’m there for an hour.
I don’t want to hear how strong I am. I hear it all of the time. I hate being strong. I hate the fact that I am pretending to be when I really am not. It’s like the only choice I have if I want to make it through life. I spent a good amount of December and early part of January at home, not showered or dressed until the afternoon because I couldn’t get myself together or motivated to do more than what was required as a solo entrepreneur.
Speaking of business, I’ve been told by close friends and family that I don’t celebrate a lot of accomplishments of mine, or take the time to appreciate my efforts. Well, I don’t know if it’s a self-confidence issue, or just the fact that I won’t ever feel like it. My people know that I never get too excited about anything. Don’t get me wrong, I have a good time and enjoy what life has to offer, but I don’t make a “big deal” about anything. Things like that don’t “stick” on me. I am just someone that tries shit to see if it will one day, to see if I can do it, and to also get my mind on something else besides the fact that there is a gaping hole on the side of my body. Or, at least it feels like there is.
Why did I write this much? I didn’t plan to. I didn’t want to edit this too much either. This is the real Kachet. She is someone who works hard, who loves hard, who travels hard, who dances hard, who laughs hard, but she cries hard, too.
I am here to say that you can experience the most intense amount of joy and have your wildest dreams comes true, and still, have a broken heart. I know tomorrow is a new day and I welcome it with open arms. I won’t stop doing the things I want to do or stop trying to challenge myself with a new venture. I’m not going to miss out on lifelong love because I’m sad that my mom isn’t going to be at my wedding. I won’t skip having a family because I’m too scared of the questions my children will ask me about their grandmother.
I know one day I’ll see my mom again.
It’s what keeps me going.
She will come and get me when it’s time for me to go home and I hope it’s after I have made a beautiful life that I can tell her all about.